FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – First for the good news: Ana Ivanovic has plenty of time this year to shop on Fifth Avenue and take in the sights and sounds of New York City.
And now for the bad: This is the second year in a row, she became a tourist after the first round.
Much like last year the 21 year-old former No. 1 took a one day exit at the US Open, this time losing to 52 ranked Kateryna Bondarenko in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (7).
“I created a lot of chances for myself,” Ivanovic said. “I’m really disappointed that I made a few mistakes in the important moments and my forehand let me down on a few occasions and obviously it hurts.
And it hurts her in the rankings as well. Last year, she was the No. 1 seed and in 2009 she fell to spots to No. 11. This Open is the cumulation of a bad year for the Serbian who just really couldn’t put it all together.
“I think it’s been, you know, as much as it hurts and was disappointing, you know, times so far, I feel I learned a lot from it,” she said. “I learned a lot about myself and you know, people around me and about what I have to do and in order to become a better player, because there was a point that, you know, I really trusted the team around me, so I didn’t question many things that were happening.
“Many times, you know, I didn’t know why I was doing certain things. So now we have, with the changes that happened, I’m more aware of certain things and more aware of the things that helped me get better. That’s obviously really good things.
“Now I know for myself what’s going to help me to improve, and you know, what kind of work it’s going to help me, rather than just rely 100% on a coach, because many times they can’t feel – all the time they can’t feel what I feel. That’s one thing that I feel I learned in last month or two.”
This time she lost top Bondarenko, who was nursing a “strained muscle” in her upper left leg, which she injured playing in Toronto. “She was wearing a wrap all game and it looked like it was aggravated by the end the match.
“It started to hurt more,” Bondarenko said. “Before the match it was okay but by the end it was more.”
Ironically as the match went on Ivanovic was the one that faltered. She won the first set 6-2, but then dropped the second 6-3. The Serbian was able to come back being down in the third to force a tie breaker, but could not withstand the Ukrainian’s will and determination.
“You know, 6-5 in the third and deuce I believe and I played great and set myself up and made the mistake, in the net every time,” said Ivanovic who is now 24-13 this year. “It’s a little frustrating. And then on match point, maybe it was wrong shot. Also, a few times I think I made a wrong shot selection, as well.
“Just also a little bit to do with confidence, just some of the shots I think weren’t the right shots but were not really coming. That was really frustrating.”
Now she will have some time to think about it and maybe take in the sights and sounds of New York. And don’t worry, after last year, Ivanovic knows the good places.